Giving Back

‘Someone else helped me, I want to be able to help someone else’

By Logan B. Anderson
Posted 5/16/22

DOVER — Giving back and being of service are tenets that La’Reka Marshall lives by. So when she set out to start her own business, of course those principles led her entrepreneurial …

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Giving Back

‘Someone else helped me, I want to be able to help someone else’

Posted

DOVER — Giving back and being of service are tenets that La’Reka Marshall lives by. So when she set out to start her own business, of course those principles led her entrepreneurial journey.

Earlier this month, on Governors Avenue in Dover’s Rodney Village, Ms. Marshall and business partner, William Craig, launched Metro Business Center, a full-service business support venture. Along with mail and copy services, Metro Business Center offers smartphone and computer repair, and more.

“Metro Business Center is a place where you can do shipping like FedEx, UPS, DHL. We also do phone repair, computer repair. If you break your iPhone, we can fix it. My partner and I are both notaries so you can get your papers notarized here too,” Ms. Marshall said.

Ms. Marshall has a clear understanding of hardship and has devoted her life to helping others.

“I was at a point in my life where I felt like I didn’t have any purpose. I had to keep on encouraging myself and great mentors have come into my life to help me to get to where I am today. So, because someone else helped me, I want to be able to help someone else,” she said.

In 2011, after escaping from an abusive relationship, Ms. Marshall and her children ended up homeless with nothing in Dover. She found The Shepherd Place, a nonprofit family shelter. There she found the help and encouragement she needed to start a new path. Now she is a business owner and on the board of directors for The Shepherd Place.

Ms. Marshall aims to use her business as a point of contact for the homeless in Dover.

“I care about the homeless community. A homeless person could come in here and say, ‘La’Reka, I need some food.’ I’m going to make sure he or she gets fed and their family gets fed,” she said. “I know I needed a lot of encouragement when I was homeless.”

She has plans to install a special green light outside of her business to communicate to area homeless people when showers and other support may be available at local shelters.

Before opening Metro Business Center, Ms. Marshall long dreamed of having her own business and settled on the business services model. She went to Mr. Craig, a friend and pastor, for some advice. After pitching the idea to him, he liked it so much, he wanted to be a part of the venture.

Mr. Craig was energized by the idea of supporting businesses and helping the homeless community, but he also saw an opportunity created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What we want to do is facilitate and provide services and products that help potential entrepreneurs if they run a business from home. COVID changed a lot of things about people’s minds,” he said.

With companies, large and small, letting their employees work remotely, Mr. Craig sees a path that Metro Business Center can serve those potential clients.

Mr. Craig said he and Ms. Marshall are evaluating new services to add to their business in the future. He said Metro Business Center will soon partner with a local insurance provider that will work from their storefront.

“We want to provide a kind of synergy of services that are connected to business. We’re not going to become licensed in insurance, but we’re going to partner with people who are reputable,” Mr. Craig said.

Besides the business owners, Metro Business Center has two employees.

One, Khalil Vaughn, is the business’ tech guru. He oversees Metro’s repair department.

“I want customers to know that their devices are in good hands here,” Mr. Vaughn said.

What sets Metro Business Center apart from other tech repair places is that if you can’t be without your device while it’s being repaired, Metro will give you a loaner to use.

Metro Business Center is at 1534 South Governors Ave. in Dover and is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.